Rutgers home streak snatched by Hawkeyes
In its last game against Michigan State, the Rutgers women's basketball team was unable to come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. So when the Scarlet Knights were down 13 heading into the fourth quarter on Tuesday night, the circumstances were not uncharted territory. This time though, there was no magic at the Rutgers Athletic Center, as Rutgers fell to Iowa by a score of 71-59.
Rutgers played very well defensively in the first half and was able to keep Iowa contained to just 29 points and the Knights were down by just 2 points at intermission.
Contrary to the first half, the Knights seemed lost on defense in the third quarter, as the Hawkeyes made all seven of their field-goal attempts and were 9-11 from the foul line. That led to a 23-12 score differential in that quarter and Rutgers was looking at a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, which Iowa would not squander.
The biggest difference in the game was Rutgers’ failure to capitalize on its massive difference in field goal attempts. The Knights were able to put up 72 shots, but only made 25 of them. Iowa also made 25 shots, but it took them 32 fewer shots.
The most jarring statistic of the game was the difference in offensive rebounds between the two teams, as Rutgers dominated the glass in that area, finishing the game with a 23-4 advantage. However, the Knights could not finish the putback opportunities, as they squandered away multiple close-range opportunities for second chance points.
“When we get offensive rebounds, we just need to make the easy layups with contact. That’s just that,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer.
It was not just contested layups the Knights couldn’t finish, as they also missed multiple “gimme” layups when there was no one contesting the shot.
“We are missing layups when nobody is near us, quite frankly,” Stringer said, visibly upset. “We gotta do better.”
As for individual performances, KK Sanders contributed 11 points with 4 assists 5 steals. She has steadily taken over the reins as the starting point guard with Shrita Parker moving to shooting guard.
“Just making progress, doing better, seeing the floor, trying to get the control of the game and just seeing my teammates and putting them in good positions,” Sanders said of her development. “It’s just a work in progress.”
Shrita Parker, the only other Scarlet Knight to hit double digits in scoring, tied her career-high that she set in the last game with 20 points. Parker has transitioned nicely into her role as shooting guard, but her game has not really changed. She just now plays in a role that better fits her skill set.
“Honestly, it’s not really different,” said Parker. "It’s just attacking the basket and trying to get to the free throw line.”
As for the Hawkeyes, they were led by All-Big Ten caliber center Megan Gustafson who had 19 points. The bright spot on defense for the Knights was their ability to contain Ally Disterhoft, who is averaging over 16 points per game, to just 6 points on a 2-7 clip from the field and 0-4 from 3-point range. Tania Davis and Makenzie Meyer were also in double digits for Iowa.
“They’re a good team, they never stop,” said Stringer of the last team she coached before coming to Rutgers. “There wasn’t much that they did that surprised us. Quite frankly they were playing with an attitude.”
Rutgers will need to play with an attitude and a little something else, as the Knights head to College Park on Sunday afternoon to take on the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins. Rutgers will need to piece together everything they have done well this season to upset the Terrapins, who are undefeated in Big Ten play.
“At the end of the day, I thought we rebounded well. We just gotta learn how to win games, you know,” Stringer said after the game. “Act like you’ve been there.”
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